Monday, February 29, 2016

dear old freinds


I'm finishing up a quilt for my youngest granddaughter.
Almost exactly four years ago, I made similar quilts for her sister and brother. Of course, that was before I 'knew.' Before she was a twinkle in my eye.
This quilt has a remarkable family resemblance to theirs.
Same sixteen patch blocks.
Same on-point setting.
Same triangle border.
Same scrappy sensibility.
Same feeling of a stained glass window when held up to the light.
Same polka dot flannel backing.
But this one reminds me of something.
I can't quite put my finger on it.
Maybe it's the color combination.
The bold yellow.
For some reason it feels very familiar....and retro.
Like I already know it and we're dear old friends.
I hope my granddaughter gets to feel the same way about it.


Sunday, February 28, 2016

in the spring


"In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love"
That might be true, but in the spring, my fancy lightly turns to thoughts of McDougall Cottage and have done so for several springs now. McDougall Cottage is a wee museum in Cambridge, Ontario and each spring, they host a Wee Quilt Challenge that I am unable to resist. This year's theme is The Myth and Majesty of Scotland and these are the words I sent along with my little quilt:  

 Fins and Scales and Mermaid Tails 

Selkies and kelpies and merfolk and monsters: it seems much of Scottish myth involves creatures of sea and loch. I suppose that isn’t surprising considering the fact that Scotland has thousands of miles of shoreline. My Wee Quilt celebrates the power of myth to enchant us all and includes two mermaids for my mermaid loving granddaughters and a very famous plesiosaur, the Loch Ness Monster, for my dinosaur expert grandson. I started with a vintage linen napkin and ‘sketched’ a picture with thread. Details were highlighted with plaid fabric applique, black, gold and cream colored thread, jewels, shells, sequins and glitter in this tribute to the majesty and myth of Scotland.

inaccessible solitudes

The Sound of the Sea- by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The sea awoke at midnight from its sleep,
And round the pebbly beaches far and wide
I heard the first wave of the rising tide
Rush onward with uninterrupted sweep;
A voice out of the silence of the deep,
A sound mysteriously multiplied
As of a cataract from the mountain's side,
Or roar of winds upon a wooded steep.

So comes to us at times, from the unknown
And inaccessible solitudes of being,
The rushing of the sea-tides of the soul;
And inspirations, that we deem our own,
Are some divine of foreshadowing and foreseeing
Of things beyond our reason or control. 




Monday, February 15, 2016

spring is here

The headlights of the car cast a yellow light ahead onto the wet, black road. There was darkness all around us and our eyes were fixed on the glimmering stretch of lit highway.
"A frog!" my husband exclaims, and sure enough, I see a hop and a flash of frog leg. "Aghh!" I croak. "There's another one."
Isn't it kind of early for frogs?
February frogs.
Shouldn't they be squatting in the mud somewhere dreaming of hazy summer days and flies buzzing in the warm afternoon sun?
Who is the real messenger of spring?
Daffodils can get it wrong.
Even the groundhog has goofed up a few times.
Not frogs though.
Once they throw off their winter woolies and leap about in the dark and rain, it's official
Spring is here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

inner rooms

I'm feeling a little tentative today.
A sort of 'so far so good' kind of feeling.
It's because of yesterday.
Yesterday I was unhappy.
And something worse than unhappy.
I felt desperate.

Doesn't that make you curious?
Me too.
I wrote it an age ago.
Those feelings are water under the bridge.
Can't remember why I felt that way now.
I could take a guess of course but what's the point.

I was trolling through 'drafts' with the intent of tidying up my blogs inner rooms and have had some very entertaining reading.
Here's another-

I had spoken hesitantly.
"They just seem dark to me. You know.... things that seem to be all about war and evil."
"But they're Super Heroes," my grandson had exclaimed. "They fight evil."
It is good to know the difference.
Even very young children can grasp the difference.
Later he had asked with the sober wisdom of seven, "Is there more darkness or more light.?"

"Is there more darkness or more light?" my grandson asked. He is seven and is a philosopher and theologian as all children innately are.
"Do you think I could teach people about good and evil with my stories," he had wondered.

We were taking turns making up stories.
"There was once a righteous man and he had seven sons," he began, startlingly..
"But some of his sons were turning to the dark side."

part art

Once upon a time, there were record players. And, then we listened to music on stereos with speakers the size of refrigerators. Now music wafts out of our computer.
Nothing children enjoy today can compare to the fun we had with our record player. George Beverly Shea and Bing Crosby sounded like Alvin and the Chipmunks when we switched speeds. We laughed and jumped around the living room like crickets. Then we switched the speed again and the voices  s..l...o..w...e...d  w...a...y  down and took on an ominous tone, a sort of robot voice of doom that we found even funnier. Interactive music. Part sport, part theatre, part art.

had to be there

"Teenagers are getting arthritis," she exclaimed, her emphasis on the word teenager. "It's because of the texting," she added incredulously, and I imagined a generation of seniors unable to grasp their canes.
Isn't eaves dropping a revelation?
When I began to tell my husband what I had just heard I began to laugh and couldn't stop.
It was because of Far Side. I suddenly remembered an old Far Side comic about a Boneless Chicken Ranch.
I think you had to be there.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

to say

"You always try your best." I say to my grandson. "You always work hard and that is why..." I pause to get just the right words. "And that is why I'll be successful in life?" my grandson asks earnestly. "Yes!" I say joyfully. "Oh," he breathes, "I was hoping that was what you were going to say."

probably would

"Can you do this Grandma?" my grandson asks hopping, his two skates rising off the ice in a perfect leap, and then another. I think about jumping. I think as hard as I can. I even bend my knees but my skate blades stay firmly bonded to the ice. "I jumped in my heart," I say, but my grandson has whizzed ahead and is now skating backwards. "Can you skate backwards?" he asks, sliding to a stop with a frosty spray. "I never learned to skate backwards," I admit. "How do you stop like that?" I ask admiringly.
"Hi Grandma!" my granddaughter calls. Her eyes are bright, her cheeks flushed as she rushes up the ice, her hands gripping a blue frame. And only a few moments later, there she is again, skating along with 'no visible means of support.'
My littlest granddaughter has made it out onto the ice too. It was touch and go in the change room. "They're too tight!" she wailed. "Too tight." The skates, the ski pants, the zipped up hoodie, the helmet.....But out on the ice, with standing up AND moving happening at the same time, happiness distracts her with a different kind of freedom.
I felt as stiff as a stick when I started skating. Stiff, but not brittle fortunately because I fell. Wasn't even sore the next day like you'd think. I could probably fall like that once a week without any trouble at all. And if I skated once a week, I probably would.